Maui News

State Provides Emergency Cinder Resource for Tropical Floral Business on Hawai‘i Island

June 15, 2018, 11:03 AM HST
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The Hawai‘i Floriculture and Nursery Association reached out to state officials for help to find an alternate source of cinder after a harvesting plant was forced to vacate operations near the current eruption area in Puna.

As the sole source of black cider on the island, the interruption in operations, threatened the island’s tropical floral business which uses the cinder granules help with drainage of potted tropical plants and which serves as the main media for propagation of anthuriums and orchids. Cinder is also used for farming and potting plants that are steam-treated to remove pathogens for shipping clearance by the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Both uses of cinder were abruptly halted due to the volcanic eruptions in the East Rift Zone. The black cinder in Puna that the industry relies on is extracted from an extinct cone that is now close to the very active fissure 8 in the current eruption area.

An emergency right-of-entry permit has since been granted, allowing access for the excavation of raw cinder from an alternate site at the Pu‘unēnē cinder pit on the border of Mauna Loa forest reserve on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. The mining is being allowed on an interim basis during the emergency disaster declaration period.

With only a few weeks of remaining cinder supply left, and concern for potential loss of jobs and income if supplies run out, the Hawai‘i Floriculture and Nursery Association reached out to Gov. David Ige and the Department of Land and Natural Resources for help to find an alternate source.  HFNA members are farmers and wholesale floral producers and nurseries throughout the state who raise and sell tropical floral crops.

Governor Ige said, “I am delighted that the state, working with HFNA, was able to quickly coordinate efforts to avoid a sudden shutdown of the farming and floral nursery industry in East Hawai‘i.”

Under the governor’s emergency declaration to support disaster response victims and help the economy of East Hawai‘i, DLNR’s Hawai‘i Land Division staff, HFNA president Eric Tanouye and member Gordon Inouye located an alternative source of cinder on the island to meet a demand of 100-plus cubic yards weekly. The Pu‘unene cinder pit is on state land on the border of Mauna Loa forest reserve in Humu‘ula along the old Saddle Road, and was previously mined for black cinder.

Working in coordination with HFNA, DLNR executed an emergency right-of-entry permit, which takes effect immediately, allowing access for raw cinder mining purposes on an interim basis during this emergency disaster declaration period.

The HFNA will coordinate with an excavation organization to provide farmers and nurseries with the needed black cinder to avoid a supply disruption. The wholesale price will be assessed based on the rates prior to the eruptions and agreed upon royalty rate of $2.50 per cubic yard. HFNA and its consultant agents and contractors will maintain and provide all insurance and comprehensive liability insurance to cover this operation.

Monthly payment to DLNR will be credited to its Division of Forestry and Wildlife in support of forestry resources. Cost of processing and sterilization through steaming is a cost to the provider. No environmental document is required because this is a previously used resource and location.

Cinder. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

Inspection team. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

Cinder collection. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

Puʻunēnē cinder cone PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

Sampling for nematode testing. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

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